Baseball is a beloved sport in America. Starting with little league for our young kids all the way to the pro’s, there’s nothing more exciting than a good game of ball. Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned veteran, the fundamentals of the game are what draw you in. Let’s take a look at the basic concepts of baseball.
To play the game, in an informal setting, all you need is a bat, ball, and glove. When playing for a league, you’ll also need a helmet, a batting glove, some padded guards, and a uniform.
Most sports revolve around a timer. Baseball is a little different. In this sport, the two teams play throughout nine innings. Innings are split into two—where the visiting team bats and tries to score points while the home team take defensive positions and then vise versa, where the home team bats and the visiting team plays defense.
To score points, players must first hit the ball and get on base or hit the ball so far that it goes out of the field, called a homerun. Once on base, their teammates will also need to get on base. There are three bases and the home plate, where the batter hits the ball. To collect a point, players must round all three bases and touch back on the home plate without being tagged or having their ball caught.
To hit the ball, players are thrown a ball by a pitcher. The pitcher, from the opposing team, throws a baseball from a raised mound of dirt. The ball is either hit by the batter or caught by the catcher, who is also on the opposing team.
If the batter doesn’t hit the ball, an umpire, baseball’s referee, calls the pitch a strike or a ball. A strike is when the ball goes into a specific strike zone and is not hit. A ball is when the pitcher throws the ball outside of the strike zone. But, remember, even if the pitcher throws a ball outside of the strike zone and the batter swings the bat, it’s a strike.
The strategy behind baseball is incredible. When batting, players must determine if the ball being thrown is within the strike zone and will be a good hit. Pitchers also have to decide how to throw the ball. If a player is known for batting and making contact with the ball, some pitchers will intentionally throw four balls, forcing the batter to walk to first base. Pitchers can communicate with their catcher using signals to indicate how the ball with be pitched—fast pitch, curveball, screwball, etc. If the batter swings and misses three times, collecting three strikes, they’re out. Once the batting team collects three outs, the teams switch positions.
Learning the basics of baseball can take time. As players begin to play the game, they learn the art of the game and how to strategize their plays to make the most of the nine innings. If your child has an interest in baseball, take them to your local high school’s games. Sign them up for a league and let them give it a try. See if they’re more a spectator or if they enjoy playing!